The first Super Sunday match in the Premier League sees Arsenal head to Brighton & Hove Albion, surrounded by increasing speculation over Arsene Wenger’s future as manager.
Currently 13 points off a Champions League qualification spot, the Gunners know that anything less than victory will end their top four hopes.
Brighton meanwhile are in a 10 way relegation fight so know that victory here could be key come May.
Brighton could welcome Czech international, Jiri Skalak back from an ankle injury here.
Only Steve Sidwell (ankle) is a long term absentee for the Seagulls here.
Arsenal will hand Jack Wilshire a late fitness test ahead of this game.
Left back, Nacho Monreal has been ruled out till possibly after international break with a back injury.
Striker, Alexandre Lacazette and midfielder, Santi Cazorla remain out with knee and Achilles injuries respectively.
Discussing the quick turnaround of fixtures impact on squad with Arsenal.com, Wenger said; “I don’t know, we will have to analyse that medically and see if I need to rest some players or not.
I have until Sunday to make that decision, but of course we gave a lot [in the Carabao Cup final] and on Thursday night. I have to decide who I rest and who I keep going.”
Brighton are unbeaten in their last six across all competitions (W4 D2), scoring 12 goals with five coming from Glenn Murray.
They have however conceded one goal in each of their last five games, including a Lewis Dunk own goal last time out against Swansea.
Arsenal meanwhile are on the worst run of any top flight team in 2018, with seven defeats in all competitions this calendar year.
In their last three matches alone across Europa League, Carabao Cup final and Thursday’s league game, they have netted just once and conceded eight.
- Arsenal are unbeaten against Brighton in last five meetings across all competitions.
- Four of last five clashes at Brighton between these teams saw both teams score at least once.
- Brighton are currently yet to beat a top eight team, taking just one point from eight meetings (0-0 vs Burnley) and are 19-1 down on goal aggregate.
Where game be won and lost?
|Per Game Average||Brighton & Hove Albion (home)||Arsenal (away)|
|Shots on Target||3.5||4.5|
|Goals per First Half %||26.3||26.7|
|Goals per Second Half %||73.7||73.3|
Surprisingly both teams are evenly matched pretty much all over the pitch.
Arsenal predictably edge the attack but Brighton are more clinical when comes to converting shots on target into goals.
What is very interesting is that both teams have scored considerably more in second half, with Brighton just having the edge by 0.4% whilst its the reverse in first half when Arsenal are marginally better.
Therefore its difficult to see where this match will be won, especially given that Arsenal are playing; Thursday-Sunday-Thursday-Sunday-Thursday …. at minute till international break.
I reckon that Arsenal will face a tougher battle than they are probably expecting here.
Add in squad rotation because some players can’t play in Europa League on Thursday and I can see a surprise draw here.
Prediction: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Arsenal
Jake predicts: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-3 Arsenal
Result: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Arsenal